20 October 2017

Art and design students from West Nottinghamshire College have seen their work shared with other artists from across the world.

Designs by Abigail Harris, Danielle Barker, Jess Knight, Tia Newton, Holly Graham and Yazmin Molik, along with tutor Kerry Bryant, all feature in this year’s International Print Exchange (IPE) – a global event celebrating the art of printmaking.

Mrs Bryant tasked the students, who are on the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art and Design course, with entering the event so they could get further practice in applying the skills and techniques they are learning at college.

It came after she submitted her own work in the 2015 exchange.

The second-year students produced their print work in their own time, using techniques including lino and screen-printing in the college’s printmaking studios. Their submitted prints range from a dry-point etching depicting a frog sat on a log, titled ‘Ribbit’, to a screen-print of a sleeping girl simply called ‘Sleep’.

Mrs Bryant also took part once again; submitting her stencil screen-print of a woman stood under an umbrella titled ‘Calm after the Storm’.

The students’ and tutor’s work is now part of the ninth annual print exchange; with all 201 submissions currently on display at a prestigious exhibition in Derby. They also form part of the online collection on the IPE official website, where they are available for purchase.

By entering the event, it means their prints have also been exchanged with a global community of printmakers.

This year’s exchange attracted a record number of submissions from 199 printmakers in 24 countries including the UK, America, Argentina, Costa Rica, Spain, Denmark, Falkland Islands, India, Japan and New Zealand.

Student Tia Newton, 19, from Clipstone, produced a black and white print called ‘Want Some Honey?’, featuring a bumblebee, using an open screen-print technique.

She said: “I enjoyed designing my print because I struggled with printmaking previously, so taking part in the exchange has improved my technique.  There was quite a lot of pressure to get it right but I was very happy with the finished product, and it’s been really nice to receive prints from other people.

“No matter where the prints have come from, whether Australia, the UK or all the places in between, we’ve all produced the same results.

“It’s like a mass coming-together of printmakers, and of how people in different places are feeling. It shows that despite all the things happening in the world and the different struggles people may have in their daily lives, they can unite through art.”

Classmate Danielle Barker, 18, from Alfreton, submitted a print called ‘Café Cat’, inspired by Nottingham-based Kitty Café, featuring a colourful cat, using a lino cut.

She said: “We didn’t have to follow a specific style or technique just as long as it was a printing process, which gave us more freedom and made it more fun. We’re already learning about the different techniques at college, so it’s been good to put them into practice and focus our knowledge while developing our work.

“It’s surreal to think there are people around the world that have my design, and similarly, I have theirs. I can see the thought and emotions that have gone into them – it’s like a connection. I have a print from somebody in Costa Rica and it’s amazing that all the prints have spread so far.”

Tutor Kerry said: “I saw this as a great opportunity for the students to gain exposure for their work through an exhibition and world-wide exchange. They’ve been able to apply the skills gained in class to a real-life situation.

“The students were really excited to receive their packs containing other printmakers’ work, which are completely unique. Overall, they’ve learned a huge amount through this project and I’m keen to extend it to the entire class next year.”

Run by Derby-based Green Door Printmaking studio, the IPE was founded by, and is dedicated to, David Michael Johnson, who sent out the original call to printmakers worldwide in 2009 before tragically dying of cancer in 2010. It continues to be held annually in his memory.

The event sees printmakers create and submit a limited edition of 10 prints using a recognised fine art technique. Green Door Printmaking Studio keeps two – one for its IPE exhibition and subsequent archiving; the other is sold to fund future exchange projects. The remaining prints are randomly sorted, and each participant receives a special pack containing eight assorted pieces of work from printmakers all over the world, plus a commemorative booklet.

The ninth annual IPE exhibition runs until Saturday 4 November at Banks Mill Studios, Bridge Street, Derby. All submissions can be viewed here.

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